Video by Kevin Thornton and Darrel Kavanagh
Selling fruit © Kevin Thornton # Thornton's Restaurant
The Cooking School at the Old Abysssinia House Lalibela Ethiopia © Kevin Thornton # Thornton's Restaurant
Sunrise Lalibela © Kevin Thornton # Thornton's Restaurant
Here are a few photos from the Wednesday Market in Lalibela
Market Day © Kevin Thornton#Thornton's Restaurant
Following a week working in Lalibella, Northern Ethiopia, I travelled to Entebbe in Uganda to visit a friend now living there. I was struck by the fertility of the land - it seems like you can drop a seed and growth happens very quickly. I saw huge papaya and avocado growing wild and food scarcity does not seem to be a problem. Below are a few pictures of the weekend.
UN Planes © Kevin Thornton
Staff in Anna's Place © Kevin Thornton
© Kevin thornton
Preparing Sunday Lunch © Kevin Thornton
Marinating Local lake Fish © Kevin Thornton
Preparing Food © Kevin Thornton
Dragon Fly and bananas © Kevin Thornton
banana leaf © Kevin Thornton
Making bread © Kevin Thornton
The perfect Roll © Kevin Thornton
Making local Salamies and sausages in Entebbe © Kevin Thornton
Catch up and a Recipe for marinated salmon
Now we are into the last week in January, and I am informed that the Restaurant in Belfast is opening in march 17 2009. I have paid for my trip to the Antarctic and I have to do a dinner in Argentina. In February I have to do the dinner as I have signed a contract and I will have to cancel the Antarctic trip as I have too much work to do and needles to say if I am in the Antarctic I wont be able to concentrate and get all my work done and enjoy the Antarctic. So I tried to get my 7000-euro returned to my account but no look they said sorry but a firm no way will they return my money.
We came up with a name for the Restaurant, which is “Menu by Kevin Thornton “
All the menus have to be finished and tested I am doing the food for all the departments within the hotel, Bar, Canapés, Restaurant, Room service, Afternoon Tea, Children’s Menu,
Hire and train the staff.
It is now the beginning of February and all the staff is hired and menus finished. Have being working flat out to make sure everything is ready as well as doing my day job running Thornton's Restaurant.
The Restaurant in Belfast is a relaxed casual dining and the menu reflects that.
It is now 10th February I have all me stuff ready for Argentina. When I am doing a gig abroad I still have to bring a lot of Equipment and food so I have to make sure I have no problems at customs so there is a lot of paper work to do so the entrance is smooth. I have found in the past if you don’t get the right person all the stuff can be taken off you and then as you could imagine will cause a lot of difficult. As far as food is concerned I try and use produce from the Markets there.
It is the last night of Filming Heat, the Final it is a really good show and the contestants were pretty good. The finalists had to cook for a full restaurant of 70 covers the restaurant was split in two so you could do from 30 to 45 covers depending on how many people you could pull into your restaurant on the night.
My team had a full restaurant on the night and produced some wonderful food for armature cooks. Trevor on my team won the final so it was a great finish to the show.
Then there was the after party that was good but I had to be up early as I was off to Argentina early next morning
The Menu for Argentina was
Marinated Wild Salmon with Salmon Eggs, Caviar, Cucumber Jelly and Lime
Slowly Roasted Quail, Shallot Puree, Szechwan pepper and Baby Leaves
Painted plate, Roasted Scallops, sugar snap peas, Squid Ink Sauce
Fillet of Venison, Parsnip Cones, Chocolate sauce
Lemon Tartlet with Cassis sorbet
Smoked Wild Irish Salmon with Cucumber Jelly and Beluga Caviar
This recipe for wild smoked salmon includes the method we use at Thornton’s for marinating and smoking the wild salmon we get during the salmon season. The wild salmon yield is low in Ireland and so wild salmon is only available for a few weeks of the year. We only use wild fish at Thornton’s preferring it to the farmed variety, which is available all year round. There really is no comparison in the taste between the two. Not everyone will want to go to the trouble of smoking salmon at home but I wanted to show how we do it at the restaurant. A good quality Irish smoked salmon available from all good food stores makes a great alternative. This is a great light starter for a meal and smoked salmon is a firm favorite during the festive season. Ummera in West Cork produces fantastic wild salmon, as does Sally Barnes Woodcock Smokery in Castletownsend. The caviar element to this recipe is optional. We serve it at Thornton’s and I don’t like to dilute my recipes so always include what is served on the plate should you visit the restaurant.
1 Fillet of wild Atlantic salmon
1kg Rock salt
500g granulated sugar
250g Crushed Black Pepper
2 small bunches Fresh Dill and Fennel stems
5 g Virgin Olive Oil
For the Smoking you will need:
Prepare Cherry and Oak wood chippings,
The smoke should be at a temperature of 32c
Hang the fish and smoke for 5 days this will allow you to keep the fish for a longer time.
For the Cucumber Jelly
6 g Carrageen Moss Power (I use carrageen instead of Gelatine)
6ml of Fish stock
5g Salmon Eggs
½ diced Cucumber (peeled and deseeded)
5 g of Agar Agar
Fresh milled white pepper
For the garnish
20 Triangles of Fried Potatoes (Cut the potato into triangle shapes, cut very thinly and sauté on a hot pan with a little sunflower oil at 180c until golden brown. Remove and place onto kitchen paper, season with sea salt.
5 g Beluga caviar
5 g Salmon Eggs
Lemon Juice of ¼ lemon
4 little balls (using a selfrino shaper) of cucumber
Lemon oil (Lemon zest and virgin olive oil)
Marinade and Smoking Method:
Remove the pin bones from the salmon. Mix the salt, sugar and crushed black pepper together, Place half the salt mixture in a deep dish and place the salmon on top. Cover with the dill and fennel; cover the salmon completely with the remainder of the salt mixture. Cover the dish with cling film and place into a refrigerator for 14 – 16 hours.
Remove the salmon from the salt mixture and wash by placing the salmon in a stainless steel bowl and allow running cold water to fall on it for 15 minutes. Dry the salmon by wrapping it in a muslin cloth or clean tea towel and once dry brush with the salmon fillets with virgin olive oil.
Hang the salmon in the smoking room at 32c for 5 days; the salmon should have a slight brown tint once it is sufficiently smoked. The salmon will last for a couple of weeks in a fridge at 2c. Once smoked remove the outer skin from the salmon (if you wish this can be used to make a mousse later).
Carve the salmon very thinly about 75 g per portion.
Method for the Cucumber jelly:
Peel, deseed and roughly chop the cucumber and juice in a juicer.
Remove and strain through a fine sieve. Heat the fish (or vegetable) stock in a stainless steel pot and add the Carrageen moss. Cook over a medium heat for two minutes. Remove and strain into the cucumber juice, add the diced cucumber and salmon eggs to the cucumber juice, taste for seasoning and correct by adding salt and pepper. Pour the juice into a deep stainless steel tray and refrigerate until set. Remove from the fridge and cut the jelly into circular shapes using a 6 mm pastry cutter.
To assemble the dish;
Place the cucumber jelly into the centre of the plate and arrange the cucumber, salmon and caviar around the plate. Arrange the salmon on top of the cucumber jelly and squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Place the potato triangles around the salmon. Sprinkle with lemon oil and serve.
ã Kevin Thornton
It is now the end of January and we are informed That the restaurant in Belfast is going to be opened sooner that expected, which is unsightly as all large projects are usually behind schedule.
So there is a lot of work to do. Come up with a Name for the restaurant and work on the Menus, Staffing Equipment etc.
Muriel and I have been to the site several times, as there are a lot to consider.
Now I have to do a dinner in Argentina in February and from there I had booked on a research vessel to go to the South Pole, which I was really excited about and now this may not be possible.
We had gone to our Solicitor to get all the papers in order, which at this stage was going on for a few months as nothing is easy and the entire wording was very important.
This was our first venture outside Thornton's Restaurant and there were a lot of things to consider and anything we get involved we do to the best of our ability and also the timing, we are in an unusual time with the economy.
We had being approached several times in the last few years to get involved in different ventures, but we always felt that we were not ready as all our energy was on Thornton's Restaurant and we felt that the timing wasn’t right before. Where as not for some reason we felt that we were ready which is strange really as one would think that a recession time is not the correct time o open a new venture. But we opened The Wine Epergne in Upper Rathmines 20 years ago we were in a recession but then again we were always in a recession so it was normal but you just go with your gut instant.
But now my only person problem was will I be able to go to the south pole and I know I am being selfish and thinking of my self. So I am still hoping that Belfast opens in April “09
We are shooting the last two episodes of Heat, which is to be aired in February
And the garden I have up rooted all the plants in the garden to get it ready for planting vegetables. I have being mixing seaweed into the soil as fertilizer
Here is a recipe for fruit tartlet
Hope you enjoy it
Fruit Tartlet with Vanilla icecream
I love the variety of fruit that is available and the magic is that most of the fruit is only available for about three weeks of the year and with food becoming available all year round it really is special when you get things that are truly only available in season like there is nothing better than tomatoes in august washed and sliced with a sprinkle of rock salt a dash of olive oil and shredded basil leaves it is like heaven and for me it is the real secret of food to get it when it is at its best and enjoy it and do with out it for the rest of the year because there will always be other things that are coming into season . `like now it is the berries who take centre stage it is the currants the white red and black currants, They are all so different in flavor but are brilliant together . So they are great for tarts and especially for `sunday lunch and can be prepared before hand.
Black and White Currant Tart with Vanilla Ice-cream
ingredients 8 persons
500g short crust pastry
500g pastry cream
10g Apricot glaze
1/2 L vanilla ice-cream
200g Red currant Sauce
200g white Currants
300g black currants
100g red currants
10 g Granulated sugar
8 Sugared vanilla pods
Short crust pastry
500g plain Flower
3 free range egg yolks
125 granulated sugar
200g unsalted butter
5g sea salt
1 Vanilla pod
1 zest of orange
100 ml Orange juice
Sieve the flower into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt and egg yolks, Cut the Vanilla pod in half and remove the seeds and add to the flower, chopped the orange zest and blanch ( Blanch; cover with water and bring to the boil , strain and refresh add to the mix)
mix in the bowl for a few seconds,
Cut the butter into small cubes and soften add to the mix and mix for a minute, add the orange juice a little at a time, the pastry should bind together, and come cleanly away from the bowl,
Remove and place into a clean bowl and refrigerate for approx. 1 hour, Remove the pastry, Butter the tart mould , dust the mould with flour, roll out the pastry, dusting the table with a little flour, cover the mould with the pastry and with your hands press the mould the pastry into the tart tray.
Blind cook the tart ( This can be achieved by covering the pastry with parchment paper and adding Dried marafat peas or rice to put pressure on the pastry while it is cooking to keep it flat) place it into a hot oven at 180c for 6 minuets, remove the paper with the rice or dried peas and replace the tart back into the oven for a further 2-3 minuets to finish the cooking it should be a very light brown color.
1/4 L of milk
1/4 L of cream
drop of still water
1 vanilla pod
125 g of Icing sugar
165 g of plain white flour
3 free range egg yolks
3 free range whole eggs
In a stainless steel pot add a drop of water, add the milk and cream, Cut the vanilla pod in half and add the seeds to the eggs and the pod shells to the liquid, bring to the boil, in a stainless steel bowl add the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla seeds, flour and mix well with a whisk until it is mixed into a smooth paste.
when the milk and cream is boiled pour half into the flour and egg mix, mix well and pour the mix back into the pot with liquid mix well and return to a low heat and stir constintantly for about five minuets, cover with a lid and place the pot into a bambarie ( container of hot water) to cook foe a further hour mixing every few minuets.
Remove and place into a clean bowl and cover.
I love pastry cream it is one of my favorite things and is difficult to stop eating during cooking
The secret in cooking pastry cream is not to rush it or take short cuts and because there is flour in it so it takes time to cook correctly,
You can keep for a few days and is great all kinds of pastry filling another thing can be done is make an Italian meringue and mix 100g for 600g of pastry cream and it gives it a beautiful velvet texture and makes it even richer love it ( italian meringue, egg whited and sugar brought to 120c and cooled to 110c and poured into the whisked egg whites)
10 Egg yolks
3 Vanilla Pod
1/2 L cream
1/ 2L milk
10 ml of still water
125 g Icing Sugar
1.deseed the Vanilla pod and add to the cream with the pods.
2. Line the Stainless Steel pot with Water, Mix the Milk and cream together and bring to the Boil.\
3. Whisk the egg yolks and add the Sugar and whisk well, pour half the Milk and Cream into the egg and sugar mix m, Mix well with a whisk and Pour back into the Liquid , Return to the heat and bring to 95c and cook , stirring with a wooden spoon when the back of the Anglaise coats the back of the spoon , remove and place into a sink with Iced cold Water to cool the ice cream mix to cool down as quickly as possible.
When Sufficiently cool ,spin in the ice-cream machine 4. Remove and place into a sterilized container and place in a freezer at -27c until required.
Assemble the tart
Cover the base with pastry cream,
line the berries on the pastry cream
Heat the apricot glaze and with a pastry brush cover the berries with the glaze.
For the sauce;
juice the red currants add a little sugar and place into a pot on a low heat and reduce by half, pass through a fine sive into a clean container cool.
Glaze the red currants, Dip the red currants into egg white and cover with granulated sugar and leave on a sugared tray over night at room tempatureWhen the berries are glazed with sugar the will last a few days as the sugar will protect them
Assemble the plate, place the tart on the plate, line the plate with the sauce place the sugared glazed berries beside the sauce, ball the ice-cream and enjoy it.
My Goodness cant belive that I haven’t witten this blog for so long.
So much has happened since then.
I will fill in the gaps to try and get up to date.
I kept a photography diary so it should be easy to fill the gaps and I plan on being a bit more strict on myself to post stuff a bit more often.
JANUARY; Was a bit different than normal as the big R is in everyone's mind but still business was pretty good, the game season was in full swing and I was preparing to go to the Antarctic for a photographic expedition which I was really excited about.
Here's a recipe for Glazed Lemon Cake which is a family favourite of ours.
Hope you enjoy it and it is very easy to make .
Just follow the steps
GLAZED LEMON CAKE
As is the case with most food, nothing compares to freshly made. Home baked cakes are a real treat and a great way to get children interested in the kitchen. This glazed lemon cake needs to rest for an hour after being removed from the oven so that the glaze can harden. The cake can also be made one day in advance.
Delicious with morning coffee or afternoon tea. You will need a 30x10x8cm (12x4x3 and a quarter inches) cake tin.
Ingredients : (serves 10)
Finely grated zest of 2 and a half lemons
5 whole eggs
350g (12oz) caster sugar
a pinch of salt
juice of 1 lemon
150ml (5 fl oz) double cream
275g (10oz) plain flour
10g (quarter ounce) baking powder
100g (4oz) unsalted butter, melted
butter and flour for lining baking tin
For the Glaze :
Juice of half a lemon
100g (4oz) icing sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (180 degrees celcius) Gas Mark 4
Preparing the Cake Mixture :
Combine the lemon zest, eggs, caster sugar and salt in a mixing bowl, then whisk at top speed for 5-7 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the lemon juice towards the end.
Place the bowl on a work surface and fold in the cream. Sieve the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold in delicately with a spatula. At this stage, add the melted butter, little by little, folding and lifting the mixture gently.
Preparing the Cake Tin :
Grease the inside of the cake tin with butter, then dust with flour – about 10g (quarter ounce) of each. Turn the tin over and knock it against the table, to remove excess flour.
Baking the Cake :
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin, ensuring that the mixture reaches up to 2cm (three quarters of an inch) from the top. Place on the middle rack in preheated oven and cook for 55 minutes.
The cake will be cooked when the top is slightly convex. To be certain, slide a needle into the middle of the cake and wait 2 seconds. Remove the needle which should be very clean and hot. Remove the cake from the oven, and turn on to a cooling rack for at least an hour until cold.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees fahrenheit (200 degrees centigrade or gas mark 6).
Glazing the Cake :
Thoroughly mix the lemon juice and the icing sugar until you obtain a homogeneous, loose mixture. Warm the orange marmalade in a small casserole.
Place the cake on a pastry sheet and , using a pastry brush, glaze the top and sides with the marmalade. Cool down for 5 minutes. Lightly heat the lemon and icing sugar for 1 minute until just warm, then brush over the cake. Place the cake in the oven for 30 seconds.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest for a further hour so that the glaze can solidify. When completely cold serve to your guests.
The orange marmalade is first brushed all over the cake so that the icing can fix itself onto it.